Josh Yohe of The Athletic writes that all is quiet on the Erik Karlsson trade talks, but the Pittsburgh Penguins remain very interested in the reigning Norris Trophy winner. Yohe doesn’t know whether a deal will materialize quickly or if it could drag out all summer, but Mark Madden has one theory on the matter that Tim Benz writes about in the Pittsburgh Tribute-Review. Madden says that his sources have told him that the San Jose Sharks have the Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes’ best offers and everyone is in a holding pattern to see if the Sharks will crack and take one of the deals.
Kyle Dubas and the Penguins would clearly love to complete a deal, but they do have a reasonably good top-4 defensive group should they miss out on landing Karlsson. While trading for Karlsson would dramatically improve the Penguins offense, they do have a good fallback option should he end up elsewhere. At the moment, Pittsburgh has Jeff Petry penciled in on the right side of their second pairing, and while he didn’t play up to his $6.25MM cap hit last year, his pairing with Marcus Pettersson was quite good.
In other Penguins notes:
- Yohe writes in The Athletic that the Penguins and pending unrestricted free agent forward Jake Guentzel have had no talks on a contract extension for the two-time 40-goal scorer. Yohe doesn’t find this surprising given that acting Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas has been busy taking care of other business and adds that he and Guentzel’s agent have a good working relationship. Yohe’s sense is that the Penguins’ veteran players want Guentzel in the fold long-term, and he figures that the two sides will come to an agreement on an extension in the not-too-distant future. Guentzel has scored 76 goals in the past two seasons and has been the most productive winger that Sidney Crosby has played with, however, he is small in stature and will be 30 years old by the time his next contract kicks in. He will also be looking to cash in on what is likely to be the last lucrative long-term deal he will sign.
- Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now wonders if the outcome of restricted free agent Drew O’Connor’s contract negotiations is tied to the Penguins’ desire to facilitate a trade for a defenseman. O’Connor filed for arbitration a few weeks ago meaning that once his case is settled or he re-signs it will open a second buyout window for the Penguins. Pittsburgh currently sits over the salary cap even with O’Connor unsigned but could buyout one of their undesirable contracts to create space once O’Connor puts pen to paper. The 25-year-old isn’t expected to demand much of a cap hit as he posted just five goals and six assists in 46 games last season and spent a good chunk of the year in the AHL, however, the days after he signs his next deal could send shockwaves through the NHL.